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The Real Banff Blog / Published: Mon, 02/09/2015 - 23:30

Interview: 88 Years In Banff With Eddie Hunter

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Eddie Hunter

Eddie Hunter is a Banff legend.  At 88 years young, Hunter can still be found skiing the slopes of our Rockies, something he's been doing for eight decades.  Last year, Hunter's wisdom and story were perfectly captured in Sherpa Cinemas: Sculpted In Time film series.  We caught up with Mr. Hunter this past week to reminisce about his incredible life in Banff.

Your first ever run down a mountain in Banff, what year was it and how old were you?

Hunter:  Oh gosh, I would have been eight years old.  It would have been right in the town actually.  We’re looking at the 1930s and there wasn’t much development… my skiing was on a pair of old wooden skis that didn’t really have a binding.  My foot was held on by part of a tire tube that would have been like a giant elastic band.  That would have been right in the town on the lower slopes of Mount Tunnel.

In the 80 years since your first ski run, what’s the best day you’ve had out?

Hunter:  I can remember many of them. As kids, we’d go to Mt. Norquay and ski all day and then we’d ski down to town.   Those were exciting days.  I guess the best day might have happened last spring when I skied with my family in the film at Mt. Norquay.  It was early April but the conditions were perfect.  It was a beautiful powder snow, more like a winter snow.  I skied with my daughter and her son.  We skied together with three generations.  That was probably my highlight.

Mt. Norquay

Mount Norquay. Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

We see a lot of your family in the video.  What age do you think it is appropriate to give kids a pair of skis?

Hunter:  I don’t think you can be too young. They stand up on skis better than they do otherwise.  I put my two daughters on skis when they were about 13 and 14 months old.  They actually skied… they stood up better than they would have if they didn’t have the skis on.

Do you have a favourite slope on Mt. Norquay?

Hunter:  It depends on snow conditions.  I still ski the big chair which goes down the Gully and The Lone Pine.  As I’m getting older, I guess I enjoy it more on a run called Monods Legacy.  Monod is an old skiing family from Banff.  Monod came from Switzerland 50 or 60 years ago and the family still has a shop here and they continue to ski.  That run was named after them.

Do you have a favourite time to hit the slopes? 

Hunter:  I like morning.  You always feel like it’s your slope anyway but when you’re there early and on fresh snow, you feel like it was created overnight for you.  The spirits have come out the woods and laid this beautiful scene for you.  To ski it, just makes it perfect.

Mt. Norquay

Mount Norquay. Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

Could you describe your perfect day in Banff?

Hunter:  Well I had one just a couple days ago.  It was a perfect day.  I got up on the mountain early to be one of the first on the lift.  There was about 15cm of fresh snow. I prefer skiing in fresh snow like that rather than packed slopes or groomed slopes.  That’s more or less the fashion now for most areas- they advertise well groomed slopes…I prefer skiing in snow with a depth to it.  That’s my perfect day. On the day of creation, I think this planet must have been on the happiest mood when it came down the Bow Valley… each mountain surrounding our town is quite different.  We even have a little one next to town, which is only about a thousand feet (304 metres) high, which is perfect for hiking. We’ve got mountains with hot running water.  Every mountain surrounding the town in this valley, where the Bow Valley runs is completely different.  It’s like a stage that was created by some very creative spirit.

What would a visitor from Toronto or Montreal be surprised about when they arrive in Banff?

Hunter: They take the drive from Calgary to Banff, which is a little over an hour.  They’re looking at the mountains all the time they’re coming in and they can’t believe it because they’re getting bigger and bigger the closer they get… people become excited no matter what they’re coming here for, if it's skiing, winter activities, climbing, canoeing or just to take pictures.  They’re hit with the excitement of the Rockies first.  That excitement, they channel it wherever their interest goes.

How different would your life be if you weren’t born in Banff?

Hunter:  You mind opens up when you’re here.  Maybe it’s the mountains that make you think of so many things.  It’s also because you talk to on a daily basis people who are from other parts of the world.  You can’t have a narrow point of view living in Banff.  It just comes with the beautiful exposure we have here… If you want to add creativity to your life, this is the best scene for that.

In three words can you describe Banff in your 88 years?

Hunter: I love you.

Mt. Norquay

Mount Norquay. Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography